BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Signaling that
stopping the transmission of AIDS is the foundation's top
global health priority, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
today announced that it will commit $100 million to the Global
Fund for AIDS and Health. The foundation used the occasion to
call on other organizations and governments around the world
also to support the new fund. The foundation is making this
commitment over a multi-year period for innovative HIV/AIDS
"As we reflect on 20 years of AIDS and the 22 million lives it
already has claimed, we believe that there is no higher
priority than stopping transmission of this deadly disease,"
said Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation. "We are pleased to join those who have already
contributed and those who will in the weeks and months ahead."
"The data on HIV/AIDS is overwhelming, and it only begins to
tell of the sufferig families experience every day. We have to
respond," said Patty Stonesifer, co-chair and president of the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"This is only part of a comprehensive and unprecedented effort
that is needed to stop this pandemic. Governments, the private
sector and the nonprofit community all have to redouble efforts
so that together we can break this chain of transmission."
According to recent reports, HIV/AIDS transmissions continue to
rise. Around the world, more than 36 million people are living
with HIV/AIDS. Nearly half are women and the vast majority of
those infected live in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly four
million people became newly infected just last year. Of the
more than 16 million AIDS orphans living worldwide, over 90
percent live in sub-Saharan Africa.
The new fund also will address other infectious diseases
including tuberculosis and malaria. Worldwide tuberculosis
affects more than 23 million people. Malaria continues to be a
public health problem in 90 countries affecting 40 percent of
the world's population.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health Program
The Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation is dedicated to improving people's lives by sharing
advances in health with the global community. Within the field
of global health, the foundation focuses its efforts in three
areas: vaccine preventable diseases; reproductive and child
health; and conditions associated with poverty.
In terms of the program's HIV/AIDS focus, the goal is to reduce
and ultimately stop HIV transmission, improve access to care
for those infected, and improve conditions for children
affected by HIV/AIDS. Specifically, the foundation's HIV/AIDS
strategy relies on the following key priorities:
1. AIDS Vaccine Development -- The foundation is a major
contributor to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, which
is working to speed the discovery and distribution of a safe,
effective and accessible AIDS vaccine.
2. Prevention/Protection -- Innovative and critical programs
that demonstrate success in stopping the spread of AIDS also
are a priority. The foundation supports a number of major
initiatives in this area, including the Harvard School of
Public Health for AIDS Prevention in Nigeria and the Elizabeth
Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
3. Microbicide Development -- The foundation is supporting
efforts to develop new and effective microbicides to help women
protect themselves against HIV/AIDS. It has contributed to the
Consortium for Industry Collaboration in Contraceptive
4. Comprehensive Approaches -- The foundation funds
comprehensive approaches such as the African Comprehensive
HIV/AIDS Partnership to reduce the spread of HIV and to
increase significantly the awareness, prevention, diagnosis and
treatment of the disease.
5. AIDS Orphans -- AIDS has orphaned more than 16 million
children. The foundation supports programs such as PLAN, an
unprecedented pan-African effort for children under age 15 who
are living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving
people's lives by sharing advances in health and learning with
the global community. Led by Bill Gates' father, William H.
Gates, Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based foundation
has an asset base of $23.5 billion. For more information,
SOURCE Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Web Site: